Fitness Competitor Allison Sigler
Since I was about 16 years old, I have always dreamed of competing in a fitness competition. I remember showing off with my one arm push ups for my Mom and Dad's amusement back in high school. So when my friend Jackie Perrin asked me to train with her I was excited to actually, finally, go through with it. Fitness and sports have always been a part of my life, but this seemed to be the right time to actually do it. My first show was 2005 Fitness Atlantic Pageant, and then I also competed in the OCB Spirit of America.
Heidi Fletcher helped me get started by learning the basics of competing. I had no idea where to start with music, costumes, heels, makeup, suits etc. So she was a great resource for all of this. I also started working with Cathy Savage in her group sessions. I didn't believe all of the praising and gushing until I met Cathy and came to a class. Cathy is incredible and truly cares about each and every competitor. All the women are just unbelievable and a great inspiration to keep training harder. These sessions prepared me for my first competition; without them I would have been lost! I am a bit of a tom boy, so I had no idea where to start with even just the makeup and hair!!
I grew up as both a dancer and a bike racer in Newtown, CT. I have danced since I was about 8 years old, performed on a high school team and have continued with it sporadically ever since. I really have missed the performance side of dance, so fitness competitions have filled that void quite well! I also have raced bikes since I was about 8 years old. I raced BMX bikes pretty seriously from ages 14-22 traveling the country racing national and world championship events. Since then I still race and compete at the pro level, but I am not nearly as competitive or serious about it. During graduate school, as I was slowly leaving the BMX scene, I was recruited to start racing downhill mountain bikes for Northeastern University. Since then I have been competing with downhill as well as mountain cross events across the country. I have raced for my sponsor, Evil Bikes/E13, for the last 3 years. Racing bikes is obviously in my blood, so I'm not sure if I will ever give it up completely, but for now I am taking it a bit easier. I plan to race at 2 or 3 events at least this summer, but hopefully won't get too many bruises. If I do, I sure hope Dream Tan covers them up!
Although I have led an extremely active life, I have also had my share of obstacles. I have had many health complications in my life, which has helped me realize early on how important staying healthy is for a full life. I had neuroblastoma, a form of pediatric cancer, at 2 months old and was in and out of the hospital for the first two years of my life. The doctors did not have much hope, but after two operations, chemotherapy and full body radiation I was miraculously cured and have had no serious complications since! I say "serious" because I always have some weird things going on with my body that I always seem to blame cancer on; one of them being Type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 14 years old, which the doctors think was caused by my cancer, but who really knows for sure? So since then I take 2-3 insulin shots a day, test my blood sugar a few times a day and watch my diet. It can be difficult at times, but diabetes really just becomes part of your life. It is amazing though how much diet and exercise help with controlling my blood sugar. If people could only realize how important it is keep your diabetes in control, they could prevent or at least limit some of the side effects.
These challenges have helped me figure out my career path. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I had a terrible time controlling my diabetes and compete at my BMX races. I started working with an exercise physiologist and nutritionist to help me figure this all out. While working with him, I realized how much I loved his job which inspired me to go to school for exercise physiology. Since graduating, I have been working at UMass Lowell as the fitness and sport club coordinator, but will soon be at University of New Hampshire as a faculty member in the kinesiology department. I have always loved teaching and am really excited to have the opportunity to teach full time. I had some amazing mentors and professors through my time in school, and hope that I can help other students find a career in exercise physiology as well.
My training routine tends to change quite a bit. I get way too bored if I don't mix it up so I try to keep my workouts interesting. I usually lift about 4 times per week and switch up the routine every 3 weeks or so. I don't love cardio machines, so I try to run/bike outside or take an aerobics or dance class for my cardio as much as possible. I'll throw in some plyometrics and circuit training to keep me amused as well.
My diet has changed some with training too. I LOVE to eat, so fortunately I do get to eat a lot. I tend to eat small meals every 2-3 hours, which is somewhat the "diabetic diet" anyways. I eat mostly whole grains, fruit, vegetable and lean protein. For me no day looks the same because I will get way too bored. I can't live without the occasional plate of nachos and bowl of ice cream but my favorite "dieting" food would be my kashi and strawberries mix. I also love my sweet potatoes and sushi, not necessarily together J
Overall I have really enjoyed my experience with fitness and plan to continue with my training and competing. Hopefully with the help and motivation from Cathy and my training partner Jackie, I can just keep improving in the fitness world and continue to build friendships with all of the incredible women involved in the sport. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for their continuous support in all that I do, Mac for putting up with my crabbiness during "diet mode", Cathy for all of her wonderful advice, Jackie for making me train hard even when I didn't want to, Colleen for painting me and all of my friends that have supported me!!